What is the 'Group Of Seven - G-7'

The Group of Seven (G-7) is a forum of the world's seven most industrialized economies. The G-6 was formed in 1975 and consisted of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom; Canada was invited to join the group in 1976 creating the G-7. The group is composed of government leaders from the seven nations who meet to discuss international economic and monetary issues.

BREAKING DOWN 'Group Of Seven - G-7'

The G-7 meets on an annual basis in a rotating member country. France hosted the first meeting in 1975 when French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing invited the leaders of the Federal Republic of Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, the United States and Japan to Rambouillet to discuss the crisis triggered by the oil shock of 1973 to 1974. This meeting was among the original G-6 nations. The first meeting with all G-7 nations was held in Puerto Rico in 1976 and was hosted by the United States.

The Presidency of the G-7 is held by each of the member countries in turn. Although the European Union attends the G-7, it does not chair or host the meeting.

Role of G-7

The G-7's major role is to discuss and resolve global problems. The seven nations represent approximately 50 percent of the global economy. The G-7 has been particularly vocal about the need to prevent the overall global economy from entering a recession. The group has discussed financial crises, monetary systems and major world crises such as oil shortages. Finance ministers from the member countries meet annually or more frequently to find ways to improve the economies of member countries and the world.

Expansion to G-8a

In 1998, Russia was added to the G-7 as a full member, making the group of world leaders the G-8. Russia was added shortly after the Cold War in a symbolic but highly contested move. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton was one G-7 member who pushed for Russia to be welcomed into the group.

The acceptance of Russia created the G-8 from 1998 to 2014. In 2014, Russia was suspended from the group after the annexation of Crimea and tensions in Ukraine. The original G-6 included non-communist powers, and the inclusion of Russia was seen as a move to help the post-Soviet Union Russia have a say in world issues.

Diminishing Power and Role

The G-7 has been criticized for not including emerging markets or representing enough of the overall global economy. Occasionally, the G-7 welcomes guest nations as nonmembers. The European Union has participated fully in the G-7 since 1981 as a non-enumerated member.

The G-20, created in 1999, includes all the members of the G-7 plus 12 additional countries. The 20th representative is the European Union. The G-20 includes emerging markets such as China, Brazil, India, Mexico and South Africa. With the membership of emerging markets, the G-20 can better gauge and influence global economic growth.

Canada holds the G-7 Presidency from January 1 to December 31, 2018 and will host the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec from June 8 to 9, 2018.

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